Freshman Focus: De’Riante Jenkins (VCU)

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Freshman Focus is an A10 Talk series that takes a look at some of the incoming freshman for the 2016-17 season. We take a closer look at some of the more talented first year players who will take the court for the first time next season.

Player Profile

Jenkins is a 6’6 180 lb. wing who will join the Rams after a post-grad year at Hargrave Military Academy. A native of Santee, SC, Jenkins held a number of high major offers including two from his home state schools of Clemson and South Carolina, but ultimately opted to join VCU, giving Will Wade his first top-100 recruit has a head coach as well as one of VCU’s highest rated players to have sign to play on Broad St. Jenkins checks in as the 59th ranked player on ESPN’s top-100 and the No.36 player nationally by 247 Sports. He led Hargrave to a 47-1 record this past season that included a National Prep Championship, winning tournament MVP honors along the way thanks to a 28-point championship performance.

Jenkins is described as a terrific slashing wing who can also hit shots from range or find the open man. VCU head coach Will Wade described his new star freshman as “a unique talent”, recently telling the Richmond Times Dispatch that the freshman “shoots it a little bit better than we thought. He’s been working hard on that. He’s a tremendous player in the open court. He will certainly help us defensively. He gives us some length. He’s a legit 6-6 and has almost a 7-foot wingspan. He allows some versatility on offense with his skill set. We need to continue to put weight on him (listed at 185 pounds).”

Potential Impact

Will Wade and Co. will hope they’ve landed a generational type of talent in terms of the best we’ve seen at VCU and so far some of the early returns suggest Ram fans could be in for some exciting times with Jenkins in the black and gold.

Coming from Hargrave — a military academy and a post-graduate institution — Jenkins will be more physically prepared to make an impact from day-one than your typical college freshman. His ability to digest Will Wade’s system however will ultimately determine how much court time he sees as a freshman. Roughly 74 minutes became available for VCU players this offseason thanks to the graduations of Melvin Johnson and Korey Billbury coupled with the transfers of little-used players Michael Gilmore and Gerron Scissum. Guys like Justin Tillman, Johnny Williams and Samir Doughty may be the biggest beneficiaries of those departures in terms of playing time, but Jenkins will certainly have a huge opportunity to make a name for himself early as well. Look for Jenkins to be the new Swiss Army knife in Will Wade’s pocket, doing whatever is needed of him in a similar role to that of Korey Billbury role from this past season.

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About Author

Mat Shelton-Eide has been involved in college athletics since 2007, starting as a co-founder of VCURamNation.com where he covered the Rams all the way to Houston as the one-time CAA darling shocked the hoops world with a historic run to the Final 4. He has worked within two Atlantic 10 athletic departments, first as a graduate assistant in the VCU Sports Information Department during the '09-'10 basketball season, then after receiving his M.Ed. from VCU's Center for Sport Leadership, as a ticketing and marketing intern in the University of Richmond's athletic department during the inaugural season of Richmond's Robins Stadium, months before the Spiders 2011 Sweet 16 run.

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